Archive for the ‘Facts & Figures’ Category
Caddies play a pivotal role in a player’s performance. The great Bobby Jones once said “If I needed advice from my caddie, he’d be hitting the shots and I’d be carrying the bag”. But yes, mistakes do happen and caddies are no exceptions to that. Such was the case in Ian Woosnam and his caddie Myles Byrne, our #2 on the list of the Costliest Rulings in Golf series. If you missed our other entry in this series click here.
It was a wonderful start for Ian Woosnam at the 2001 British Open – against all expectations he was in contention to win his first open at Royal Lytham & St. Anne’s. Tied for the lead with three others, he marched with a lot more confidence into his final 18. He started the round with a birdie (missed a hole-in-hole by a whisker) at the opening par 3.
The tale then had a sudden twist as something dramatic happened. His caddie, Myles Byrne, came up to him and said, “You’re going to go ballistic” – “We’ve got two drivers in the bag” as he pointed out the extra driver. That meant Woosnam was carrying 15 clubs, which indeed is a two-stroke penalty.
Woosnam responded by throwing the extra club to the ground in disappointment. ‘I give you one job to do and this is what happens,’ he said. As a result of the penalty, Woosnam finished with 71 – four shots behind the winner David Duval, tied for 3rd place.
Here is what rule of Golf (4-4) says,
The player must not start a stipulated round with more than fourteen clubs. He is limited to the clubs thus selected for that round, except that if he started with fewer than fourteen clubs, he may add any number, provided his total number does not exceed fourteen.
It costed Ian Woosnam 218,333 pounds and a potential Ryder Cup spot. On the other hand, caddie Byrne lost anywhere from 15 to 20 thousand pounds in caddy earnings.
Below is the final leaderboard of the 2001 Open:
Woosnam surprisingly decided not to fire him stating: “It is the biggest mistake he will make in his life. He won’t do it again. He’s a good caddie. I am not going to sack him. He’s a good lad.”
Ironically, Woosnam did fire his caddie two weeks later when, after a night drinking on the town, Byrne slept in and failed to turn up to tee-time.
Byrne was last seen lugging bricks, having become a construction worker on a building site in Bray, Ireland, according to writers who cover the European Tour. And Ian Woosnam never came close to the leaderboard again. They never spoke after the split but we hear Woosnam checks with Byrne’s brothers, Brian and Dermot, both European Tour caddies, about him.
Watch this below video (or click here) that captures the moments in disappointment of Ian Woosnam.
Mistakes are a part of human beings. Professional golfers are no exceptions to it when it comes to playing by the rules. Some due to ignorance and some just out of oversight. Unfortunately the history of golf has seen several such instances – at times small mistakes costed some players even a tournament. That said, ignorance is not a bliss, at least in golf. Here is a new series from our Scratch Pad desk covering such instances – Costliest Rulings in Golf.
# 1. Roberto De Vicenzo:1968 Masters
Roberto De Vicenzo is the greatest golfer South America has ever produced with 230 tournaments and 8 PGA tours under his belt. But he is remembered not just for what he won, also for what he lost. Yes, you read that right! History always remembers the winners, 1968 masters tournament is an exception.
Roberto De Vicenzo was in mid 40s at the 1968 masters and had just won the British Open the same year. He was in complete control of his game at Augusta and shot a magnificent 65 in the final round to tie Bob Goalby for first place. But something dramatic happened then. Tommy Aaron, his playing partner and who kept De Vicenzo’s score, mistakenly put down a four for the 17th hole instead of a birdie three, which was De Vicenzo’s actual score. De Vicenzo didn’t catch the error and signed it. When he did that, he signed for a 66 instead of a 65, handing the 1968 Masters to Bob Goalby by default and settling with a second place.
Grief-stricken on his mistake, De Vicenzo then uttered what has become one of the most famous quotes in golf, “What a stupid I am!”.
Below is the final leaderboard of the 1968 masters,
Here is what rule of Golf (6-6d) says,
The competitor is responsible for the correctness of the score recorded for each hole on his score card. If he returns a score for any hole lower than actually taken, he is disqualified. If he returns a score for any hole higher than actually taken, the score as returned stands.
“For me, the Masters hasn’t ended,” De Vicenzo told Golf Digest in a 2006 interview. “Technically, the ending was legal. But there is something missing. The winner hasn’t yet emerged. It lacks an ending. Someday, maybe in another place, it will be decided” he adds.
De Vicenzo never won another major. Tommy Aaron went on to win the 1973 Masters, where, ironically, he caught a mistake on his scorecard made by his playing partner. Well, that’s a perfect example for learning from the past.
We all know a golfer that never passes a water hazard without his or her trusty scoop at the ready. Spending half their time on the course fishing for balls, they last bought a new sleeve in the late 80s. That’s ok! Golf balls are expensive… and they are often lost. It is estimated that about 2.5 billion golf balls are lost every year in United States (the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass alone counts 120,000 lost balls in a year). About 1.9 billion used golf balls are played on golf courses every year. We now have the perfect gift for these ‘golf ball fishing fanatics’.
Enter an invention conceived and built by three Sacramento engineers: The Golf Ball Wrangler. The Golf Ball Wrangler helps retrieve balls stuck in a water hazard easily and economically. It is basically a series of fiberglass mesh plates mounted on an axle. All you will have to do is toss the Wrangler in the water, pull it across the bottom of a pond, and balls are trapped between the plates. According to the makers a single pull will crab up to 25 balls – imagine your friend’s smile when they pull a dozen balls out of the water (and perhaps it will mean less time holding up play)
The Golf Ball Wrangler is currently available to U.S. customers only, for US$119.99 plus $49.99 shipping.
Below is the video showing Golf Ball Wrangler in action.
The chart below shows the cycles of greatness on the PGA tour since its inception in 1916 through 2004. The chart includes 57 players that have won at least 15 events on tour, as well as the most dominant players, whose rise and fall are graphed out over time. Click on the link to be taken to a page where you can zoom in and view the details of the chart (and can also buy a print, if you would like).
The below chart, appearing in a recent GolfWorld article, looks at the number of “long bombs” by professional golfers vs. their height. One conclusion that can be drawn is the lack of correlation between height and number of super-long drives. The other is that Bubba Watson really stands out from the pack, with 50% more 350+ yard drives than his nearest competitor.
On a recent episode of the TV show MythBusters, special effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman ran tests to see if a dirty car is more fuel efficient than a clean one. It turned out that dirt doesn’t make a difference to the mileage (in fact it reduced mileage by ~1.5 mpg). But the intrepid experimenters didn’t stop there. They went a step further to test if covering a car in actual golf ball-like dimples would improve its fuel efficiency?
As seen in the video below, dimpled golf balls could fly almost twice as far as smooth balls, since they disrupt the air around them, which creates a smaller wake and reduces drag. So could the same principle could really be applied to race cars?
To answer the question, the Mythbusters team went about adding 1,082 dimples to a Ford Taurus’s exterior. To keep the experiment consistent, all 1,082 dimples removed from the clay exterior were put in a box and then set in the back seat so that the car would weigh exactly the same as before dimpling.
At constant 65 mph speed, the cleaner car gave 26 MPG and the dimpled one gave an amazing 29 MPG. The theory or the improvement is that, like a golf ball, the dimples would reduce the car’s drag through the air, thus allowing it to travel the same distance at the same speed using less fuel.
So, in a difficult economy with high fuel prices, a dimpled car design can very well save you some cash. In fact, an improvement of 3 MPG translates into ~$400-600 per year of savings for the average person who drives 15,000 miles.
If you have the interest to find out more, you can view the full video of MythBusters Mileage Test.
While a lot has been recorded about Scotland and the history of golf, but long before St. Andrews existed a more primitive form of golf emerged in present-day Netherlands and Flanders in the 13th century. Colf, as it was called, was played with wooden clubs and balls.
The game was not played on an actual course, but was played in the streets, churchyards, and open fields. However, this sometimes resulted in the breaking of windows and the hitting of innocent bystanders. When this became a major issue, the game was banned from the towns and relegated to open fields.
The rules of the game are largely unknown, but a lot can be garnered from dutch paintings of the time. It was probably a team game with one target. The target could be a tree, a post, or even a hole, and the goal was to reach it in the fewest number of strokes.
In the 16th and 17th century, the Little Ice Age forced colvers to play on small frozen bodies of water. The colf ice fields were very crowded, so the nature of the game evolved from a distance oriented game to a more target oriented one. The conditions of colf during this time required specialized equipment, like Scottish cleeks and leather balls.
The popularity of colf dropped off by the end of the 17th century, and it was replaced by a French game called, jeu de mail (a bit like indoor croquet), and the indoor game of kolf. Kolf was a hybrid of jeu de mail and colf, and it is still played in one region of the Netherlands today.
Who has the Honour? That seems like a simple question: We all know that it’s the lowest score – but when you’re playing with handicaps, is it the lowest gross score, or lowest net score?
We were just asked that question, and thought it was good enough to share the answer with everyone.
The answer can be found in the Rules of Golf – Rule 10, specifically:
In Match Play the honour goes to whomever won the hole. If you’re playing with handicaps, then it’s based on net score. If you’re playing without, then it’s based on gross score.
In Stroke/Medal Play the honor always goes to the lowest gross score, even when you’re playing with handicaps.
MyScorecard’s You versus the Pros performance report offers you the ability to compare your skill against your favorite PGA and LPGA professional.
But how good do you have to be to graduate from Q-School?
We’ve run the numbers for the 2010 PGA and LPGA tour season in terms of 3 of the most often tracked statistics: Driving Distance, Greens in Regulation, and Putting.
Averaging 315+ yards per drive, Robert Garrigus is far and away the longest driver on the PGA tour, with Bubba Watson leading the rest of the pack. But do you have to be a 300+ yard driver to be on the Men’s Tour? Not quite so. The vast majority of PGA tour players drive between 280 and 300 yards – but you’d better be at least 275 or longer if you want to play on the tour.
Greens in Regulation (GIR)
In contrast to the Men’s tour, it is the LPGA pros that lead in GIR accuracy. Read the rest of this entry »
You may have had a tough day out on the golf course, but here’s something to keep in the back of your head.
Despite decades of scientific improvements in clubs and balls, more physical training, and all sorts of new ideas on improving your swing, the average golf score remains the same: around 100 for 18 holes.
However, for MyScorecard members, that number is between 90 and 91 (for reference, the average handicap is just under 16). Some people may attribute it to the Hawthorne effect, which is at least partially true, but we attribute at least a portion of it to the fact that our members are just better.
So do a little dance – you deserve it.